With the main construction contract for the Athy Distributor Road project executed by Kildare County Council and BAM Civil Ltd. in October 2021, construction has since begun. The scheduled completion period is two and a half years.

The project involves the construction of a 3.4km single carriageway distributor road around the southern side of Athy, largely following the line of the disused Athy-Wolfhill railway. The route crosses the River Barrow, a Natura 2000 site that forms part of the River Nore and River Barrow Special Area of Conservation. It requires the construction of an 80m single-span steel composite bridge across the River Barrow and a two-span bridge over the Dublin to Waterford railway line.

The design incorporates extensive improvements to pedestrian and cycle facilities, including the repair and repurposing of a listed, disused railway bridge over the River Barrow as a cycleway/footway. Dedicated links will be provided to the Barrow Way, a long-distance walking trail that follows the original towpath of the river, and to Athy Railway Station.

ROD-AECOM Commission

ROD-AECOM was appointed to provide technical consultancy services for the project in April 2015. Our appointment covers all stages of the project from feasibility through to handover.

During the first two years of our appointment, ROD–AECOM developed macro-simulation and micro-simulation traffic models to assess the optimum solution to traffic congestion on the N78 through Athy. We undertook constraints and route selection studies of routes to the north and south of Athy, which were assessed in accordance with the Common Appraisal Framework.

The Route Selection Report was published in August 2016, and the Environmental Impact Statement, Natura Impact Statement and Compulsory Purchase Order were published in April 2017.

Oral Hearing

An Bord Pleanála held an oral hearing in July 2017. Planning consent and approval for the scheme was granted in October 2017 without the imposition of any additional conditions.

Following planning approval, ROD-AECOM procured and supervised several advance works contracts, completed the detailed design for the works, and prepared the main construction contract tender documents.

Procurement process

The main construction contract was procured under a restricted procedure, with award based on 80% price and 20% quality criteria. Tenders were received from six contractors in May 2021, and, following the tender assessment process, the letter of acceptance was issued to BAM Civil Ltd. in October 2021.

ROD-AECOM is now providing the Employer’s Representative and a team of site-based supervision personnel to undertake the administration of the contract through the construction and handover stages.

Following the award of the contract, Kildare County Council Interim Chief Executive, Sonya Kavanagh, said: ‘Kildare County Council is delighted to have reached this important milestone. This is a significant infrastructure project and, with the main works contract now in place, we are keen to see it come to fruition for the people of Athy and Kildare as a whole’. 

BAM Ireland CEO, Theo Cullinane, said: ‘As a local company headquartered in Kill, BAM is delighted to have been appointed by Kildare County Council to deliver this vital project for Athy. The distributor road will alleviate congestion in Athy’s beautiful historic centre, reduce journey times significantly in the area, and provide a wonderful amenity along the Barrow’.


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